Fathers unite against crime - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Fathers unite against crime

June 17, 2005

Valdosta-- Some South Georgia men are using this Fathers Day weekend to clean up crime in their community. They're holding a rally in Valdosta to get neighbors involved and make the streets safer for kids in the community.

James Micklon has lived on Ponderosa Drive for 25 years. "I raised two children in the neighborhood, I felt very comfortable with them out here," said Micklon.

But times have changed, and if he had young children now, Micklon says he would probably move. "We've seen the quality of this neighborhood go down," said Micklon.

It's a street that's been plagued with numerous drive by shootings and drug dealings over the past few years, and neighbors are fed up. Saturday, they're holding a "Stand Against Crime" rally in hopes of bringing their high crime rate back down.

"We're going to have a motorcade, rally and parade coming right through this community urging people to support us and then we're going to be passing out information on what we're doing to make this community better and also recruiting people to be a part of what we're doing," said Rev. J.D. Martin.

And they're starting with the fathers in the community. "We need men, men are supposed to be the leaders of this country and we want them to use Fathers Day to stand up and take back your community, don't let the bad influences take our community," said Martin.

Martin and several others have started a block club that meets once a month and is kind of like a neighborhood watch group. They act as citizen patrols and are trying to come up with new recreational opportunities for kids in the area.

"The children don't have any positive activities to get involved with so when you come down to this area, they'll just be standing out in the street trying to find something to do," said James Wright.

Their efforts are showing some progress in the community, but, "We still have a long way to go," said Martin.

And they'll keep working until this community is once again, a safe place to raise a family. The Stand Against Crime Rally starts at 10:30 Saturday morning in the 200 block of Ponderosa Drive.

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